Top contenders for the next manned moon landing: the United States, Russia, China, India, and... the Isle of Man. Sure, the island found between Ireland and the United Kingdom is only three times the size of Washington, DC, but according to the consulting company ASCEND , it's fifth in the line-up of most likely nations to make a moon landing between 2018 and 2020. They give Mann 50-1 odds that it will make it, coming in after India with 33-1 odds, and before the United Kingdom at 300 to 1 and Iran at 1,000 to 1. If I owned a consulting company, I'm not sure I'd publicize that prediction, but ASCEND's seemingly tongue-in-cheek newsletter (pdf) has this to say:
A surprising choice this one but the tax haven island has firms with a commercial interests in manned lunar flyby flights using Russian hardware.
A British Crown dependency, Mann is technically separate from the United Kingdom. Though the island's space aspirations might not be grabbing major headlines, it is branding itself as the "Space Isle." As host of October's Google Lunar X Prize Summit scheduled during the United Nations-declared World Space Week, it will hold a star gazing event in the 13th century Castle Rushen in Castletown. The triskelion flag would certainly look handsome planted in lunar ground. If only I knew how to say "one small step" in Manx Gaelic.... Related content: Discoblog: Buzz Aldrin Explains: How to Take a Whiz on the Moon Discoblog: California Lays Claim to Astronaut Garbage Left Behind on the Moon Discoblog: The Space Debate: When Will NASA Astronauts Explore the Moon, Mars, and Beyond? Discoblog: Make Room For Space Florists: First Plants to Be Grown on the Moon
Image: Wikipedia / Castle Rushen Portcullis Chamber / Manxruler